Will GOP back Bryant against Inslee? | JERRY CORNFIELD

If Bryant winds up the Democratic Party’s chief target it means he’s also the Republican Party’s torchbearer.

  • Friday, September 18, 2015 7:16pm
  • Opinion

By Jerry Cornfield,
Political columnist

The decision of state Sen. Andy Hill to not take on Gov. Jay Inslee in 2016 forced the Democratic Party attack machine to brake hard and return to the shop.

Its operators had invested much time into manufacturing salvos to launch at the Redmond Republican who they presumed would be the Democratic governor’s opponent next fall. In recent months, these Democratic operatives even test-fired a few in Hill’s direction.

Now they need to restock and reload for what appears to be a battle with a man they’ve mostly ignored – Bill Bryant, a mild-mannered and widely unknown member of the GOP mainstream who is an elected Seattle port commissioner.

As elated as the Democratic muscle is with not having to tackle Hill, it’s hard not to imagine they (and maybe Inslee too) are suffering a bit of a letdown as well.

They expected the governor would face as tough an election in 2016 as he did in 2012. Yet one-by-one, those with the seeming potential to mount such a challenge have chosen not to do so.

Rob McKenna, who lost to Inslee in 2012, signaled he wasn’t seeking a rematch. State Sens. Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup and Steve Litzow of Mercer Island have also said no.

Congressman Dave Reichert is still talking himself up for the race but seems unlikely to talk himself into it.

If Bryant winds up the Democratic Party’s chief target it means he’s also the Republican Party’s torchbearer.

That’s going to take some getting used to for GOP leaders. Unseating Inslee is a top priority but they, much like Democrats, had kind of counted on having a better known personality taking on the governor.

Republican leaders must decide how much the state party will invest in a Bryant bid. There’s a risk that anything perceived to be less than all-in will be deemed a concession they don’t believe Bryant can win.

In 2012, the party contributed $2 million directly to the McKenna campaign and another $500,000 of in-kind contributions, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Nearly all of that arrived in the general election, so there’s plenty of time to watch how Bryant’s campaign evolves and political events unfold.

Meanwhile, those guiding the Republican Governors Association are hashing through the same kinds of questions.

In 2012, the RGA made its presence felt in Washington when it shelled out roughly $9 million in ads and mailers against Inslee. RGA officials have yet to signal a willingness to expend that much again.

They too want to see if Bryant’s campaign can raise money and build an organization capable of taking on – and taking down – an incumbent governor in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican governor in 35 years.

Bryant on Monday picked up the endorsement of Dan Evans, a former three-term Republican governor. Backing from another venerable Republican is due to be announced next week.

Bryant’s aides say the campaign is exactly where it is supposed to be at this stage.

Still this is not how leaders of the Grand Old Party envisioned the campaign would be playing out.

Neither did the Democrats.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Race relations and your local police department | Roegner

The jury is our citizens, and they are divided.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Editorial: Make certain you count in 2020 census

The Census Bureau has been told to cut its work short, making your response even more important.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The police department of the future | Roegner

Based on comments from elected officials and police, the Black Lives Matter… Continue reading

Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Wearing a mask saves lives and saves jobs. And all across the… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Points of contention on police inquests in King County

Inquests frequently unfold against a backdrop of sadness and drama: Family members’… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Armondo Pavone is the Mayor of Renton.
Renton needs a defined timetable for homeless shelter | Guest editorial

By Armondo Pavone and Ruth Pérez, Special to the Renton Reporter The… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Valley police chiefs of King County release unified message in response to death of George Floyd

Police chiefs of Des Moines, Tukwila, Renton, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Black Diamond and the Port of Seattle pledge to stand with communities.